Union Square is an area we don’t get to as much as we should. It’s a little out of the way (although that will change with the impending Green Line extension), but it’s an area that has a concentration of really great bars. Every time we go, we wonder why we don’t go more often!
We started off with the reason for being in the area. We had a Gilt City voucher for a tasting at Bantam Tap room. This is a small but fun space with interesting ciders. The tap room looks into the production facility, so you get a peek at the tanks and equipment. They have quite a variety, ranging from sweet to dry to hoppy. The staff is knowledgeable and efficient, especially since it was fairly crowded when we were there. After our tasting was complete, we took a short walk down Somerville Ave to The Independent.
The Independent is a causal pub filled with dark wood. It has good cocktails and a nice beer list. It was recently renovated, so it’s a spruced up version than the less polished version we visited years ago, but it’s a great place to hang out.
Next we headed to Back Bar. This is hidden down a small driveway and is easy to miss, but you really shouldn’t! This is a smallish, eclectic space filled with tchotchkes with an emphasis on Star Wars and cats (if you want to make friends with your bartender/server, ask for some cat pictures!). The staff here is so friendly, and they have extremely creative cocktails. They will also go off book and make something tailored to your particular taste. To balance our cocktails, we had some bar snacks here, including an insanely good buttermilk ranch popcorn, cheese puffs, and olives. These were great accompaniments for liquor-forward drinks. One drink that stood out in particular was a drink special for the day, a Fluff milk punch. We ordered this since it was seasonally appropriate (Easter weekend), and it was fantastic. Not too sweet, and clarified so it wasn’t as heavy as a normal milk punch, with a touch of toasted Fluff on the glass. This place can fill up quickly, especially on May 4th, when they have Star Wars themed night, so go early or prepare to wait. Overall this is just a fun, comfortable place with great staff, great drinks, and great ambiance. Put this on your must-visit list if you haven’t been.
Our next stop was next door to Bronwyn. This is a German restaurant with outstanding food, and we never miss it on a trip to Union. The space is cozy and comfortable, and in the summer they have a small outdoor beer garden. The feature a large beer menu focused on Central Europe – Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Czech Republic. They offer flights, a “world tour” (a bucket of beers with a bottle from each region) and a German classic – Das Boot. We can’t skip the food here, so we ordered quite a sampling of the menu, including the Bretzel, the wurst trio, the schnitzel and the potato salad. Everything was delicious, and went well with our beers. We ended the meal with a schnapps tasting, in preparation for our impending trip to Oktoberfest in Munich this fall. This place is another must-visit! German food is pretty hard to come by in Greater Boston, so it’s perfect for a schnitzel fix.
We ended the evening with a nightcap at Brass Union. This is another dark wood pub, with great cocktails and board games. While we didn’t sample any food, they do have an extensive menu.
Overall, Union Square is a great neighborhood filled with amazing gems. If it’s not in your rotation, it should be. Go check it out!